Mixing Epoxy Floor Coatings.
There are several do’s and don’ts when it comes to mixing epoxies. We will cover a few of the topics about what to do (and what not to do) for different situations.
This is a very basic (yet extremely important) note on mixing epoxies. 2-component epoxy must be fully mixed for the epoxy and the hardener to react with each other.
DO: Use a power drill with the proper mixing blade to mix the epoxy. Thoroughly scrape the sides of the container to ensure that the entire product has been incorporated. Try not to introduce too much air into the mix as this will generate foam. Do not whip the product up by mixing too fast.
DON’T: Mix with a stick. Mixing with a stick will not give you a full incorporated mixture of the components. A stick will not mix as good as a power drill with the correct sized blade.
Mixing part B into part A
There are times when you purchase an epoxy kit that has 3 quarts of part A and 1 quart of part B. It is possible to mix the B component into the part A container, but some problems may arise when doing so.
DO: Mix part A to fully incorporate the epoxy and additives together. Transfer the contents of the part A into a vessel that has adequate mixing space. Add the part B while slowly mixing the part A. Transfer as much of the part B as possible into the new vessel to ensure that you are at the proper mix ratio. This procedure will ensure that there will be residual part A and B in their corresponding containers, thus keeping the mix ratio correct.
DON’T: Pour “enough” of the part B into an un-mixed part A and mix vigorously. Yes, this might have worked in the past, but being at an incorrect mix ratio could cause problems with the coating including dry time, durability, and chemical resistance. This method uses the entire A component, but there will be residual B component in the B container that may affect the overall mix ratio.
Mixing part A and B into a new container
Some of the products at Versatile Building Products require you to use a different container. This is beneficial because it creates a higher chance of properly mixing the product more evenly. This also helps because it prevents a lot of product splashing out when mixing 1.5 or 2 gallons of material in a 5 gallon bucket versus in a 2 gallon bucket
DO: mix part A thoroughly prior to transferring the contents into a larger container. Scrape the part A container to get as much product out as possible. Add the part B while slowly mixing the part A to ensure a proper even mix. Scrape the rest of the part B into the container, and mix for several minutes. Be sure to scrape the sides of the container to incorporate everything into the mix.
DON’T: pour part A and B together into the new vessel prior to mixing part A. Also, don’t leave excess material in the containers. You paid good money for this product and want to get your money’s worth. Leaving excess material behind might also skew the mix ratios and cause adverse effects to the coating.
Mixing small quantities of material to finish the job
There are times where you might only need a fraction of a kit to finish a job. It is very important to be extremely careful when only using part of a kit because you do not want to have an incorrect mix ratio.
DO: mix the part A prior to measuring out the needed amount of material. Once mixed, carefully measure out the correct VOLUME of material needed using a container that has visible increment markings. Mix the part B prior to adding it to the part A. Carefully measure out what is needed (this depends on mix ratios) in a separate container. Once both parts are measured out completely, add the part B into the part A and mix for several minutes. Scrape as much part B as possible to ensure that you achieve the correct mix ratio.
DON’T: Pour un-mixed part A into a container and “eyeball” the needed amount. An un-mixed part A can be detrimental during the application process because essential additives may float or sink in the container during storage. Pour an un-mixed part B into the same container and approximate if being a little under or over is “good enough”. This could cause improper mix ratios and the coating may never become fully cured.
Mixing large quantities of material to get the job done faster
Time is an important factor when dealing with epoxies (and everything else in life). Too much time may be problematic, yet too little time could cause issues as well. We at Versatile Building products have formulated epoxy coatings with time being a major priority. The products have different pot life times for different types of applications and users.
DO: Section off your project to leave room for breaks or emergencies. Plan and prep everything that you need ahead of time. Have designated sections for mixing, and have spare tools set in an area in case they are needed. Have ample labor on hand to complete the project. If you are attempting to roll out a three car garage floor on your own, do not try to mix the required material all at once. Epoxies generate an exothermic reaction and give off heat. Coincidentally, heat reduces the cure time (and pot life) of an epoxy coating. It is best to properly mix some epoxy and pouring ribbons out onto the floor. The process of pouring out ribbons allows the coating to have more surface area. This larger surface area will allow the heat from the exothermic reaction to escape freely rather than reducing the pot life. There are accelerators packs available if you are looking for a faster cure. Once the ribbons are poured onto the floor move at a steady even pace to spread those ribbons around. Do not let those ribbons sit for a prolonged time as they could become speed bumps and difficult to push around.
DON’T: mix the entire quantity of epoxy needed to finish the job all at once. This will drastically reduce the pot life, and could cause you to make mistakes when in a rush. Do not mix materials before completely preparing the floor and masking off sections that need to be protected. Do not mix materials when the weather is not ideal, as epoxies have a tendency to become dull around extremely high humidity. They will also becoming thick and not flow as well if the temperatures are very low.
Measuring products by weight to achieve proper mixing ratios
Versatile Building products states mix ratios according to volume. If for some reason, you have a scale laying around and think that it is more accurate to measure a small amount by weight, STOP. Each product has a specific density and the mix ratios will be incorrect. If a product states that it is a 2:1 ratio by volume, do not mix 2 pounds of part A with 1 pound of part B. This will surely create headaches in the future.
DON’T: try to mix 2 pounds of A with 1 pound of B because the label states 2:1 ratio. 2 pounds of feathers take up much more space than 2 pounds of sand because they have different densities. Epoxies and hardeners also have different densities. Save yourself the trouble and refrain from measuring products by weight.
Please Contact a Versatile Building Representative if you have any questions. 1 800 535 3325.